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Last Speech of Howard Zinn

The following is a part of the last speech of Howard Zinn in Nov. 2009. A radical historian and peace activist, Howard Zinn, died on Jan. 27, 2010 at the age of 87. He started a movement to stop the Vietnam War. One of his books: “People’s History of the United States” (sold more than a million copies) has changed the peoples’ way of looking at the human history, not only that of the United States. Anyway. Here is his last words:

“We should look for a peace movement to join. Really, look for some peace organization to join. It will look small at first, and pitiful and helpless, but that’s how movements start. That’s how the movement against the Vietnam War started. It started with handfuls of people who thought they were helpless, thought they were powerless. But remember, this power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people below. When people stop obeying, they (people on the top) have no power. When workers go on strike, huge corporations lose their power. When consumers boycott, huge business establishments have to give in. When soldiers refuse to fight, as so many soldiers did in Vietnam, so many deserters, so many flagging acts of violence by enlisted men against officers in Vietnam, B-52 pilots refusing to fly bombing missions anymore, war can’t go on. When enough soldiers refuse, the government has to decide we can’t continue. So, yes, people have the power. If they begin to organize, if they protest, if they create a strong enough movement, they can change things. That’s all I want to say. Thank you.”

Eiichiro Ochiai, Chair, VSA9

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